Jun 21, 2010

Chosen Words: K is for Kling Klang

a.k.a. World Cup Distraction Exercise: Fat Roland's A-Z guide to the most important words or phrases in electronica and their associated "facts"

Kling Klang ("ringing sound") was the name of the recording studio set up by Kraftwerk in Düsseldorf in 1970.

The band retained creative independence by converting a workshop over several years into a fully-functioning studio, complete with home-made instruments. Famously, they would not accept visitors and wouldn't even answer the phone.

It took a lot of effort in those days to experiment: the tape manipulation methods of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, for example. These days, studioheads double-click a big purple button marked 'experimental'.

Kraftwerk's influence extends beyond the likes of New Order, Afrika Bambaataa and OMD: the Peatbog Faeries released an album called Croftwork, Senor Coconut is an (excellent) Latin American Kraftwerk tribute guy, while Simple Minds love playing Neon Lights live. I wish that last fact was a joke, but it's not.

Kraftwerk's producer Conny Plank went on to be in Cluster and Moebius And Plank, both significant pre-runners to modern electronica. And he's called Plank. Seriously. Coolest producer ever. He was Marlene Dietrich's soundman for crap's sake.

Plank rocks. He engineered Brian Eno. That's like God begatting God. Yeah, screw Kraftwerk. Plank is where it's at. I can't even believe I started writing about Kraftwerk. Jeez.

Top five bands that you wouldn't expect to record Kraftwerk covers but they did, honestly they did:

- Simple Minds
- Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
- Terrorvision
- Ride
- The Cardigans

For more Chosen Words, click the tag at the bottom of this post.


stellaVista said...

Senor Coconut is in fact Uwe Schmidt (Atom Heart, etc.) another prolific German electronic musician who went to live and record in Chile. His work under the Senor Coconut moniker is in fact only him and a bunch of sampled. He also did a tribute album to YMO.

Fat Roland said...

Strange thing is, I've been playing Senor Coconut at gigs for a while, and someone introduced me to Uwe Schmidt's stuff earlier this year... but it wasn't until I was researching this piece that I discovered they were the same person.

I suspected "band" was wrong when I wrote it - I've changed it to the vaguely generic "guy" instead! Ta muchly.

JPM said...

This is the man who knows too little about the early work of Simple Minds - who sounded very different - and much more interesting


And then you'll wonder why they ended up doing stadium rock

(or even fish out 'I travel' and see how the Brookside theme tune ripped of Mr Kerr and the boys)

Fat Roland said...

Crikes. Are you sure that's the same band? It must be - the lead singer's got Jim Kerr's lips.

JPM said...

... I promised you a miracle.....

JPM said...

oh, and by the way the first three Simple Minds albums - the interesting ones worth listening to - were produced by (later to be) superproducer John Leckie - he of Manchester post-punk maestro's Magazine's debut album 'Real Life' and the amazing PiL first single 'Public Image'

he's done some more albums as well. You might have heard of 'OK Computer' or even 'The Stone Roses'....

Fat Roland said...

John Leckie, that's a blast from the past. Reading his Wikipedia entry is a rollercoaster of emotion:

"[He produced]...Cast's albums All Change (1995) and Mother Nature Calls (1997), Kula Shaker's debut K (1996), Spiritualized's Ladies & Gentlemen and The Verve's A Storm in Heaven."

I was ready to say he's the worst producer ever, then it mentions Ladies & Gentlemen and Storm In Heaven. Now I like him again. He also did The Bends, which I've always preferred over OK Computer.

I have edited that Wikipedia entry. "The Verve" never recorded A Storm In Heaven, but Verve did. I snipped the "The". [Insert Beaten Generation joke here.]

JPM said...

Listening again to the joy that is "Public Image" it has struck me that it sounds like Mr Lydon singing over a Joy Division song.

Probably would have sounded better produced by Martin Hannett.

no buts, it's got to be....